#9 - JRL 7249
July 15, 2003
Anti-Presidential Plot Developing in Russia
Experts think that one of the influential groups is making attempts to stop the liberal modernization based on private business
On July 10, political scientists met for an extraordinary session of the Open Forum Club. They arrived at a conclusion that the scandal connected with discrediting Yukos is targeted at President Vladimir Putin, not Russian oligarchs. President of the Institute for Strategic Estimates and Analysis Alexander Konovalov says that "a plot against the president" arose not without reasons. First of all, Vladimir Putin openly said he wouldn't run for the presidential post for a third term. Second, it is perfectly obvious now that he wouldn't side with any of the parties. The main objective of the "plotters" is to make the president opt to support one side. Alexander Konovalov supposes that it is only the president who may put an end to the disorder in the country.
President of the Expertise Foundation Mark Urnov agrees that it is a severe blow aimed at the president. The expert thinks that one of the influential groups is making attempts to stop the liberal modernization based on private business; in exchange it wants to offer a new model supposing that the role of the government will be stronger. It is not accidental, he adds, that the Yukos-related scandal is developing at this very time. As was expected, Russia was to be flooded with foreign investments soon which would make realization of this plot problematic. It is not accidental that particular attention was focused on Yukos. It is one of the first Russian companies that started working in accordance with the international standards.
Anatoly Golov, the Director of the Social Policy Institute thinks the Yukos-related scandal is an obvious political case. The expert says the closure of the TVS television; the arrest of werewolf police officers and unexpected claims raised against the largest Russian company were initiated to demonstrate who the master of the situation was. Yeugeny Satanosvky, the president of the Russian Jewish Congress doesn't think the situation is that dramatic. His opinion is that the unusual activity of the General Prosecutor's Office is quite typical of the relations between business structures and the authority in Russia.
Yabloko chairman Grigory Yavlinsky thinks such connection between the authority and business structures is rather strange in Russia. He even calls them Siamese twins who have started fighting with each other. The Yabloko leader is sure that conflicts of this kind will further continue. He adds that only an independent parliament, judicial system and fair elections may help avoid such conflicts in the future.
Independent deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov thinks Russia is now at a crossroads. On the one hand, we are offered a development model suggesting nationalization and isolation from the outside world. On the other hand, Russia still has a chance to get incorporated into the international economy. Society is keeping quiet. This means that it is the president who has the final word.